Signs of colon cancer differ according to the anatomical structure of the colon. The ascending colon, namely the right colon causes different symptoms than the descending colon, the left part of the colon. Since the ascending colon has a large structure, the tumor usually does not cause obstruction there until an advanced stage. This mass may cause bleeding or may reveal itself with occult (hidden) or visible blood in the stool. If this bleeding is long-term, there are additional symptoms of anemia, such as fatigue, dizziness, or palpitations.
When it comes to the left colon, the signs of colon cancer may vary. The left colon has a narrower anatomical structure than the right column, therefore, tumors can cause obstruction causing complaints to emerge. Specifically, tumors located in the left part of the colon, which descends lower, gives people the false sense of constantly needing to defecate while being unable to.
What are the Signs of Colon Cancer?
The most common symptoms of colon cancer can be answered as follows: continuous diarrhea and/or constipation, unusual thinning of the stool, blood coming from the anus and stool, or egg white-like secretion in defecation. In cases where colon (large intestine) cancer progresses and obstructs the intestine, there will be swelling and pain in the abdomen. It is vital that those with such symptoms consult a doctor for early diagnosis.
Additional symptoms of colon cancer include:
- Feeling that the intestines are not emptied sufficiently
- Difficulty to defecate
- Painful stools
- Unexplained weight loss
These symptoms are the most important and obvious symptoms of colon cancer. Colon cancer involving the right side of the intestine and colon cancer involving the left side can show different symptoms. Since the left side of the intestine is a narrower region, complaints such as thinning in the stool, bleeding, change in stool pattern are seen in this region, while on the right side, since the intestine is wider, the cancer progresses insidiously and takes longer to show symptoms.
Patients complain of symptoms such as weakness, anemia, anorexia, and abdominal pain. Painful defecation, iron deficiency, and abdominal mass sensation are extremely important symptoms for colon cancer. Being diagnosed with colon cancer before the disease progresses greatly increases the survival rate and chance of successful treatment. Therefore, it is very important to follow the symptoms of colon cancer and screening guidelines for early diagnosis.
Diagnosing Colon Cancer Symptoms
Colon cancer is a type of cancer included in screening programs. Regular endoscopic examinations are the most effective way to prevent cancer or detect the disease at an early stage. Colonoscopy is the most important of these examinations. Colonoscopy is a procedure that can both detect an existing tumor at an early stage as well as detect polyps and similar problems that may cause cancer, as a preventative measure to protect against the development of cancer.
It is recommended that every individual with no personal or family risks of colon cancer begin screening at the age of 45 and undergo a colonoscopy examination every 10 years until at least age 75. Individuals with higher risk of colon cancer should begin testing earlier and be tested at shorter intervals according to their risk status, personal health and family history. Preparation and application of a colonoscopy is now much easier and more comfortable for the patient. New colonoscopes can be applied extremely easily and can obtain desired results without causing much discomfort to the patient.